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ECSU students go round the world at International Fair and Dinner

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Latif Tarik, archivist at Elizabeth City State University, discusses the many items on display at his booth at the International Fair and Dinner upstairs in the campus student center, Friday night.

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From staff reports

Monday, October 1, 2018

Friday night, students at Elizabeth City State University were treated to an-around-the-world event while never actually leaving campus.

ECSU hosted its annual International Fair and Dinner on the second floor of the Ridley Student Center. The event included several cultural booths that represented a host of nations, including India, Taiwan, Venezuela, Turkey, Chile, Ivory Coast, Liberia, South Korea, Spain and Nigeria. 

For instance, Latik Tarif, the university’s archivist, presented several items from his personal collection, many of them gathered during his travels throughout Africa. He showed students a handwoven basket from Ethiopia and a hand-carved African chess set. Tarif, who also teaches history, said he likes to bring his collection to class to show students real world items.

Debjani Kanjilal, a business and economics professor, spoke to students at her booth, which represented the nation of India.

Kanjilal attributed the high student turnout and their excitement Friday evening to ECSU’s decision to hold this year’s international fair in the student center, where students spend much of their time away from class.

“We thought it would be a perfect location for them,” she said. “I’m so happy to see so many of our students.” 

In the past the cultural event has been held off campus at the K.E. White, which is not as easy for students to get to, especially if they don’t have a car.  

This year also marked the first time the international fair included cultural booths, Kanjilal explained. Students browsed the booths, tasting samples of foods from different nations, like the baklava found at the Turkey exhibit. At the Taiwan booth, students could try their hand at Chinese calligraphy, and the Spain booth featured tapestries, some about 100 years old. 

Kanjilal said the student body at ECSU is getting more diverse.

“Which is great,” she said, adding that this semester she has six international students in her classes. 

The event began at 6 p.m. Around 6:30 p.m. students were also treated to a buffet dinner, which included food from several area eateries. 

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